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NEW ORLEANS The number of murders is down for the first quarter of the year, according to the New Orleans Police Department, however, there were increases in the number of assaults, thefts and armed and simple robberies.

The Uniform Crime Report showed the murder rate fell more than 27 percent from January through March, as compared to the first quarter of 2011.

'That has been Mayor Landrieu's and my top concern, and the downward trend in that violent crime, which severely affects countless families and friends of victims, is what we want to see more of,' said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

The number of shootings dropped more than 5 percent and the number of burglaries, including home and auto, was down by 16 percent.

Rape cases remained the same.

The number of arrests made in robbery cases is up 65% compared to the number of arrests for robberies committed during the same time last year.

'These numbers also reflect a public that calls its police department if it's been a victim of crime. Victims in New Orleans continue to contact the NOPD at an extremely high rate- about 80%- because they believe our officers will be effective in helping them. That percentage beats the national average of reported calls by some 20%. It's apparent that New Orleans citizens are gaining faith in their police department, and I want to thank them for that,' Serpas said.

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